This is a big week for UNLV sophomore fullback Beau Brence.
His hometown Texas Rangers played in their first World Series game on Wednesday, and a football team he grew up watching, fourth-ranked Texas Christian, visits the Rebels at 8 p.m. Saturday at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Brence played at Plano (Texas) Senior High School under his father, Gerald.
At UNLV, he still is learning a new position after switching from defensive end the week of the Sept. 25 game against New Mexico. Off the field, he is the football team’s representative on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and helped represent UNLV at the 2008 regional conference in San Diego.
1. Being from Texas, can you describe how excited you are About the Rangers being in the World Series?
Words can’t describe how pumped up I am. I was back home in Texas this past weekend during our bye week. You could not get a T-shirt or a hat. I went to two games this year when I was home. I’ve had to pinch myself since Friday. Are the Rangers really in the World Series? It’s pretty unbelievable to think about, but that’s what happens when you’ve got good team chemistry. They’ve got a great manager (Ron Washington). They’ve got Nolan Ryan. You couldn’t ask for a better person to be running that group.
2. Do you have any mixed emotions about playiNg against a team from your home state?
I don’t know anybody on the team, but to know they’re all from Texas, it’s a bit strange. To think I’m actually playing TCU is a big deal. I grew up watching them. They’re about an hour away from me. I went to a bunch of their games as a kid. I was a bit of a fan. You tend to root for any team that’s from Dallas. I was a big (Southern Methodist) fan. SMU’s only 20 minutes from my house.
My dad knows a couple of coaches on (TCU’s) staff.
3. Did TCU recruit you?
No, TCU never recruited me. I never got an opportunity to go take a look at them, but it would’ve been pretty cool if they had. They’re just a solid program all-around — great facilities and great fan base. Fort Worth’s a beautiful town.
4. Who besides UNLV recruited you?
My brother (Ryan) played at Army under Coach (Bobby) Ross. I went on a trip there, and Navy recruited me pretty hard. Rice recruited me, and I talked to some smaller schools, like Holy Cross and Stephen F. Austin.
But (UNLV) just felt right. I like to think of myself as a pretty charismatic guy, and Vegas is a good town for that.
5. When did Coach Hauck talk to you about switching positions?
I got a phone call on a Wednesday (before the New Mexico game) from (defensive coordinator Kraig) Paulson. He said Coach (Brent) Myers wanted to talk to me, and that’s when Coach Myers told me about the switch.
I was still playing defensive end. I was kind of going both ways, which was a chore. In the New Mexico game, I played defensive end. I didn’t really play fullback, but then they kind of made it official the next week against Reno.
I feel comfortable with it now, but at first it was a whirlwind.
6. What is the biggest difference now that you are on offense?
The biggest adjustment was blocking in the open field, which is kind of like tackling in the open field. That was something that I had to learn how to do, and I’m still working on it, which will probably be the way it is until I graduate if I’m still playing fullback.
7. How was it playing for your dad in high school?
It was awesome. Texas high school football is huge, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. He was Dad at home. He never brought coaching home. I’m glad, because it’s enough to deal with him on the field.
8. What can you tell me about the Student Advisory Committee?
There’s a representative for every sport on campus, and we do a lot of community service. We also do a lot of brainstorming on what we can do to make the athletic program better from a student-athlete’s point of view. We’ve picked up trash. The student-athletes, all of us, have gotten out there. We do that about once every couple of months. We go to elementary schools and read to kids.
9. What was the trip to San Diego in 2008 for the regional conference like?
That was a really cool experience because every (major Western school) was represented. I had never been to California. (We did) a lot of exercises, like how to lead other student-athletes. It was for the older guys, and I was kind of wide-eyed, to be honest with you. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but they took me in and really showed me around a lot.
It was a leadership seminar, too, where they were teaching us how to be better leaders not only on the field but off the field. It was a series of workshops and stuff like that. We divided up into teams almost. I was with people from San Diego State, a gymnast from Arizona, somebody from Wyoming, two people that represented Hawaii. I really enjoyed it, and I’ve actually stayed in touch with a couple of the people I met there.
10. Since you’re a journalism major, are you planning to be a reporter?
I’m minoring in history. My dad was a high school football coach in Texas, so I grew up a coach’s kid. I might go into coaching. I don’t know if a journalism major will take me much of anywhere, but I like writing, and I’ve always wanted to do radio. I’d like to be a part of the entertainment industry, and I like the journalism aspect of it, too. I love sports, I love talk radio.